On the Devin Setoguchi Addition

Kent Wilson
August 23 2014 04:00PM

It got a bit harder for a rookie to crack the Flames recently with The team adding free agent forward Devin Setoguchi to a one year deal. 

As evidenced by the cheap, last minute contract with the Flames, it's been a steady fall from grace for the former 8th overall San Jose draft pick. Setoguchi scored 31 goals and 65 points as a sophomore in 2008-09 and looked to be a burgeoning star for the Sharks at the time. Unfortunately, the Taber AB native rode a lot of beneficial circumstances and percentages to his break out performance that season. Although he scored 20+ goals two more times after that high water mark, he has never since cracked the 45 point barrier. 

The good news for the Flames is that Setoguchi is likely better than the results he put up in 75 games for Winnipeg last year (11 goals, 27 points). He suffered from a career low on-ice SH% of just 5.92. His offense was further depressed by a career low personal shooting percentage of 8.5%. Setoguchi's true ability is probably much closer to the 35-45 points he typically managed in Sharks and Wild colours, which would be huge value at $750k. In addition, at 27 years old, he's more likely to rebound than to to decline.

On the other hand, Setoguchi's not much more than a middling, middle-tier NHL forward. He has never meaningfully driven possession at any point in his career. Last season, for example, Setoguchi managed a relative corsi rate of -3.7/60 on an average Winnipeg Jets club. That's despite completely run of the mill circumstances.

With just a single year contract, Setoguchi is a low risk, moderate reward type of signing. If he gets back to 20 goal and 40 point territory, his NHL stock may rebound enough for him to become a tradable asset at the deadline. He's also young enough that he could be retained with a longer term deal should he suddenly figure things out this season. In addition, Setoguchi is a natural shot RW player, a commodity in short supply in the Flames organization currently.

Of course, for those hoping to see a few kids on the roster come October, this addition clogs up the depth chart somewhat. In addition to Setoguchi, Calgary now has nine NHL wingers in Glencross, Hudler, Raymond, Jones, Colborne, Bollig, McGrattan and Byron inked to one-way deals. Lance Bouma may also be added to the list, depending on when he re-signs (and if Bob Hartley considers him a winger or a centre). 

As such, any kid who makes the team is going to have to climb over a vet or two to do it (or pray for a lot of injuries). That said, it also allows the Flames to pursue some veteran trade options without completely gutting the depth chart and throwing the kids into the deep end.

Verdict - Thumbs up. Although he's unlikely to make a big impact on the organization, Setoguchi is a good buy low gamble. 

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Former Nations Overlord. Current FN contributor and curmudgeon For questions, complaints, criticisms, etc contact Kent @ kent.wilson@gmail. Follow him on Twitter here.
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#51 Rockmorton65
August 25 2014, 09:41AM
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VK63 wrote:

I was worried that he was eating (and drinking) his way out of the league but saw him about a month ago and by Settos standards… he WAS rather svelte.

He lacks passion in his game but perhaps the recognition that the offers were not fast and furious this summer shall motivate him to apply himself with more zeal. His tool chest is upper echelon just gotta get that sparrow heart pumping harder.

^^^^ someone up there mentioned Penner…. fair comparable. What could be is obvious… what is…. whelp…

One of the things Treviling said about talking with Setoguchi was that the lack of interest appeared to be a wake up call that was received. Let's hope he was right.

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#52 McRib
August 25 2014, 10:17AM
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VK63 wrote:

I was worried that he was eating (and drinking) his way out of the league but saw him about a month ago and by Settos standards… he WAS rather svelte.

He lacks passion in his game but perhaps the recognition that the offers were not fast and furious this summer shall motivate him to apply himself with more zeal. His tool chest is upper echelon just gotta get that sparrow heart pumping harder.

^^^^ someone up there mentioned Penner…. fair comparable. What could be is obvious… what is…. whelp…

"His tool chest is upper echelon just gotta get that sparrow heart pumping harder."

Hahah, Know a few guys who played with Seto on Saskatoon & Prince George and this describes him perfectly, as apparently he used to drink 5-6 nights a week while still easily putting up more than a point a game in the WHL.

I hope that the sting of not being signed right after the UFA market opened motivates him, but at the end of the day with all of our young prospects, I don't see much use after a year or two regardless. Maybe he can save his career, but he is just someone who will never come close to reaching potential was always far too interested in being a pro (chasing skirts, etc) rather than playing like a pro, he is Rene Bourque 2.0!

It's interesting in this day and age it seems more and more players are coming from cities like (Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Halifax, London, etc) rather than small town markets who are producing less and less players every year. I think players growing up in a small market are at a major disadvantage not only because of fewer resources available for training, but also because they become such a big deal at a young age that it goes to their heads (i.e. Taber & Lac La Biche). Whereas 40-50 years ago every good player came from a small town (before artificial ice).

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#53 everton fc
August 25 2014, 11:49AM
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McRib wrote:

"His tool chest is upper echelon just gotta get that sparrow heart pumping harder."

Hahah, Know a few guys who played with Seto on Saskatoon & Prince George and this describes him perfectly, as apparently he used to drink 5-6 nights a week while still easily putting up more than a point a game in the WHL.

I hope that the sting of not being signed right after the UFA market opened motivates him, but at the end of the day with all of our young prospects, I don't see much use after a year or two regardless. Maybe he can save his career, but he is just someone who will never come close to reaching potential was always far too interested in being a pro (chasing skirts, etc) rather than playing like a pro, he is Rene Bourque 2.0!

It's interesting in this day and age it seems more and more players are coming from cities like (Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Halifax, London, etc) rather than small town markets who are producing less and less players every year. I think players growing up in a small market are at a major disadvantage not only because of fewer resources available for training, but also because they become such a big deal at a young age that it goes to their heads (i.e. Taber & Lac La Biche). Whereas 40-50 years ago every good player came from a small town (before artificial ice).

Perhaps McGrattan can have a positive life-influence on him. When he had good games in San Jose, I liked him. Few and far between, though, as the years progressed.

As for small markets, perhaps kids from small markets (not to mention families) are moving from rural areas to more established areas - the great diaspora from rural to suburban, which is indeed happening `mainstream`. Unfortunately, I might add, but that`s personal opinion. Would be an interesting research study.

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#54 coachedpotatoe
August 25 2014, 12:08PM
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everton fc wrote:

Perhaps McGrattan can have a positive life-influence on him. When he had good games in San Jose, I liked him. Few and far between, though, as the years progressed.

As for small markets, perhaps kids from small markets (not to mention families) are moving from rural areas to more established areas - the great diaspora from rural to suburban, which is indeed happening `mainstream`. Unfortunately, I might add, but that`s personal opinion. Would be an interesting research study.

I agree and hope McG can help him turn those problems around otherwise he could be a distraction for the young prospects when they get the call up.

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#55 McRib
August 25 2014, 12:42PM
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@everton fc

I'll agree that he looked alright in San Jose, but he was mostly playing on a line with Thorton and Marleau, which causes me to downgrade play (also why I am not certain Tomas Hertl is going to be a major star yet. See Marek Svatoš, Devin Setoguchi, etc).

Seto could end up being a 30-35 point guy for us, but honestly so could a Sven Baertschi or Max Reinhart (even if they move over from LW) and to me they are players who have earned the opportunity with this club. Wheares Seto has already been given three or four chances now with various teams.

This move sends the same message that scared the crap out of me when we hired Bob Hartley and that is when he was with Colorado everyone said he had trouble properly handling rookies.

I think management has acknowledged Bob Hartley will get this club to compete every night for the next season or so, but once our young players start emerging with the big club... I think Bob Hartley is gone and likely that is why Ryan Huska was hired (who deserves an NHL chance regardless). By making this move Management has clearly acknowledged that they would rather give Bob players with NHL experience rather than rookies for the coming season.. Sorry I just can't get as excited as most on here, with a move where we picked up a player who the Winnipeg Jets didn't even want.

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#56 Stubblejumper
August 25 2014, 02:36PM
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McRib wrote:

I'll agree that he looked alright in San Jose, but he was mostly playing on a line with Thorton and Marleau, which causes me to downgrade play (also why I am not certain Tomas Hertl is going to be a major star yet. See Marek Svatoš, Devin Setoguchi, etc).

Seto could end up being a 30-35 point guy for us, but honestly so could a Sven Baertschi or Max Reinhart (even if they move over from LW) and to me they are players who have earned the opportunity with this club. Wheares Seto has already been given three or four chances now with various teams.

This move sends the same message that scared the crap out of me when we hired Bob Hartley and that is when he was with Colorado everyone said he had trouble properly handling rookies.

I think management has acknowledged Bob Hartley will get this club to compete every night for the next season or so, but once our young players start emerging with the big club... I think Bob Hartley is gone and likely that is why Ryan Huska was hired (who deserves an NHL chance regardless). By making this move Management has clearly acknowledged that they would rather give Bob players with NHL experience rather than rookies for the coming season.. Sorry I just can't get as excited as most on here, with a move where we picked up a player who the Winnipeg Jets didn't even want.

Wholeheartedly agree.

Seto takes up crucial development time away from prospects.

The forward positions were already plugged up with less-capable or average NHL players (DJones, Bouma, Byron, McGrattan, Stajan etc.) and while each of them brings a little bit of something to the table...job #1 for the Flames is to develop their prospects by blooding them with some NHL-level experience, and then send them back to the AHL to use this experience to speed their development.

Quite frankly I'd rather have 8 prospects get 10 games each this year than giving the prospect's time away to Seto.

Picking up a serviceable D would have been a much better move than another Fwd...I am sure the 15 prospects competing in the wings let out a collective groan and dampened the overall team spirit and attitude.

If you were Granlund, Baertschi, Reinhart, Knight, Ferland, Wolf etc etc....what message does this send to all of them...???

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#57 Burnward
August 25 2014, 03:36PM
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@Stubblejumper

The message? No spot is earned. If you want to be on this team you have to beat out a proven NHL player.

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#58 piscera.infada
August 25 2014, 03:38PM
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@Stubblejumper

If you were Granlund, Baertschi, Reinhart, Knight, Ferland, Wolf etc etc....what message does this send to all of them...???

It says, "nothing will be given to you - if you want it, take it". Platitudes aside though, I'm not sure you can look at the move simply in the vacuum of "depth right-winger (which the team needs) or depth defenseman (which the team needs)". In my eyes signing Setoguchi does very little for any of the prospects. If one can come in and outperform him on the right-side, then you give that kid the spot. There is nothing owed to Setuguchi in all of this. It simply creates a situation where if no prospect shows he's ready for the big-club, you have a stop-gap signed for one year at virtually no cost with moderate upside. It's pure win either way.

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#59 PrairieStew
August 25 2014, 03:57PM
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@Stubblejumper

I think the message it sends to the young guys is nothing is going to get handed to you - please continue to work your a$$ off to get to the NHL.

The guy is just 27 - 4 years younger than Glencross with more games played and almost identical counting stats. We all acknowledge the value of Glencross's contract at $2.5 - and Seto at 30% of that is a bargain.

I think/hope there is still a move for another defenceman. Perhaps it comes closer to training camp as a salary dump deal.

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#60 Stubblejumper
August 25 2014, 03:58PM
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@Burnward

Understand your comment re "spots need earning" but think prospects are aware and generally agree with this.

However I think bringing in Seto goes against the meritocracy by queue jumping Seto at the last minute ahead of the 7-8 guys fighting for a forward spot.

For most of the prospects the message received is:
- there's another guy to get past,
- the opportunity to make it to the show is being continually diminished, and
- you're not good enough and mgt has no faith in you so they're bringing in someone else instead of giving you a shot.

And why have so many prospects if you only support development opportunities for first rounders and Hobey winners?

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#61 Burnward
August 25 2014, 05:48PM
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@Stubblejumper

I'd agree with you if the top end talent pool was 22-23. They can stand a little more seasoning.

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#62 seve927
August 26 2014, 07:47AM
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Meritocracy can't really be judged in a two-week training camp. If you score 3 or 4 goals in 7 exhibition games, have you earned an NHL job? It'll happen over the course of the season.

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#63 coachedpotatoe
August 26 2014, 08:35AM
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Stubblejumper wrote:

Understand your comment re "spots need earning" but think prospects are aware and generally agree with this.

However I think bringing in Seto goes against the meritocracy by queue jumping Seto at the last minute ahead of the 7-8 guys fighting for a forward spot.

For most of the prospects the message received is:
- there's another guy to get past,
- the opportunity to make it to the show is being continually diminished, and
- you're not good enough and mgt has no faith in you so they're bringing in someone else instead of giving you a shot.

And why have so many prospects if you only support development opportunities for first rounders and Hobey winners?

With now 9 NHL established forwards and 3 emerging forwards plus Bouma once he signs it makes it difficult for the prospects to make the team out of training camp and while I am an advocate of giving the top 3/4 of these prospects lots of games as IMO they are ready and earned a shot based upon last year. However there is nothing to stop the flames from sending down guys like Byron, Guchi, DJones back down, yes we might loss them to waivers but they are also replaceable. I suspect that there may be trade in the works. Also I think the Flames will keep Johnny up at the start of the season. Who this signing most effects is Sven, Granlund, Ferland and Rhino; the older and more prepared forwards,

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